Birds & Wildlife

Injured Wildlife

What to do if you encounter an orphaned or injured baby animal

Although wildlife has survived millions of years without our help, there may come a time when you find they need a helping hand. Please review these baby wildlife rescue do's and don'ts before taking action to assist wildlife.

Just some general rules before taking wildlife…


  • Disturb nests—if a human is constantly hanging around, the parent will not return
  • Take fawns—it is instinctive for a fawn to keep still and a parent is probably close by watching you
  • Touch or handle raccoons, foxes, or skunks…these are Rabies Vector Species and can possibly spread disease
  • Assume young birds on the ground are orphaned right away…when birds are learning to fly, they spend a few days on the ground practicing their flight. A parent is usually nearby watching over the youngster and comes down periodically to feed.

Before rescuing, make sure the animal NEEDS your help


  • Keep an eye on the young/nest—if the parent does not return within 2 to 24 hours (depending on species), assume it is orphaned
  • Watch for natural predators and move it to a safe place if in danger (ex. Roaming neighborhood cats, traffic, etc.)
  • Place baby birds back into the original nest—if the nest is unreachable or knocked down, make a fake nest and place it in a nearby tree
  • Place an X of sticks across a disturbed rabbit nest—if a parent returns, the X will be removed from its position within 24 hours…if the X is not disturbed, assume the young are orphaned

If an animal DOES need to be rescued…


  • Allow children or pets to play with the animal—animals carry disease and also stress very easily, causing death in many species
  • Give water—birds, in particular, will drown if water is poured into their mouths
  • Feed any food—not all birds eat worms! DO NOT feed bread! DO NOT feed milk!


  • Carefully place the animal in a box or paper bag (wear gloves!) and place it in a dark, quiet place away from children and pets
  • Keep the animal warm
  • Call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible: In the search box, type in: "injured wildlife" (in quotation marks).

How you can help, right now